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What you need to know: California to vote on funding for school and college facilities with Prop 13

Posted: 3:04 PM, Feb 13, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-14 11:33:00-05
Election 2020 California Primary School Facility Upgrades

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Education will be a hot topic in the California primary come March 3, but not in the way you might think.

On Super Tuesday, Californians statewide will decide whether or not to approve Proposition 13, which would authorize $15 billion in bonds for schools from Kindergarten up to public colleges and universities.

The measure distributes the $15 billion as $9 billion for preschool and K-12 schools, $4 billion for universities, and $2 billion for community colleges.

Of the $9 billion designated for preschool and K-12 schools:

  • $2.8 billion for new construction of school facilities.
  • $5.2 billion for modernization of school facilities.
  • $500 million for providing school facilities to charter schools.
  • $500 million facilities for career technical education programs.

At the university level, the $4 billion would be broken down into $2 billion for the California State University system and $2 billion for the University of California system and Hastings College of the Law.
Pro 13 would require the CSU Board of Trustees and the UC Regents to adopt five-year affordable student housing plans for campuses that seek bond funds.

The remaining $2 billion will go to community colleges.


Schools could use this money to make buildings safer, to construct new buildings, or to increase the amount of student housing. Prop 13 would also increase the amount of money local school districts could raise by selling their own bonds. Districts with less money could also apply for more help from the state to pay for construction projects.

According to the fiscal impact statement, the average annual cost for repayment is around $740 million a year, with interest, over 35 years. Money for repayment will come from General Fund tax revenues.

That’s a total estimated cost of $26 billion: the bond itself plus an added $11 billion in interest.

Those in favor of the proposition argue this will make schools and colleges safer. It is backed by Democratic state lawmakers, teachers and the construction industry.

Those against the the proposition include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association who note that California voters approved a $9 billion school bond in 2016. They argue Prop. 13 would allow school districts to borrow more money, which could increase taxes for all California property owners.

  • To see the full text of Proposition 13, see here: